Some time in the summer of 1986, Dad visited my home, and said that he had brought an early Christmas present. This proved to be a large wooden garden seat, one that could be assembled and presumably put away in the winter. He had bought the same present for my sisters, and wanted us to have these now rather than later. I suspect that he had commissioned these, and after picking them up, decided not to store them in his garage, but to drop them off.
He had bought the seats from a neighbour of Aunt Amy’s in Knolton, a place on the main Wrexham-Ellesmere road that I drove past last Friday. The neighbour’s name was Hubert, and I think that he ran a small garage (long since closed) and made these and other items as a sideline. I always think of Dad, and of Knolton, when I see this seat, and I can still see him unloading the seats from the boot of his Audi Avant.
I doubt that it was more than 2 months afterwards that he died so suddenly. We had stored the seat at my then home, and I cannot recall when we actually assembled it. I doubt that it was that Christmas, and I only really recall the seat from its position in my present home, to which we moved in 1992. The seat was never very practical, and over the years it has deteriorated. I recently moved it to the front garden, while work was carried out on the back, and I then found that all the feet of the seat had become rotten. We had rarely actually sat on the seat, but left it in a corner, and my wife suggested that it be dismantled and stored away for further consideration.
I know that one of my sisters’ seats succumbed to rot and was destroyed, but I certainly cannot think of doing this while my seat still has structural integrity; it may be possible to sheath it in some way. The decay has not been major, and yet its condition reminds me that it has been 30 years since the seat was made, and almost 30 long years without him. He was much less sentimental than I, but I hope that he would realise why I would seek to preserve a reminder of this unexpected gift.
26 June 2016